Leaving tubeless tires inflated or deflated Here’s everything to know about

When storing your tubeless tires leaving them inflated or deflated can have drastic effects on how they will perform later on, no matter the amount of duration you are storing them for here’s what will happen to them over time.

in this article, I will cover.

  • should you leave your tires inflated
  • should you keep them deflated
  • what will happen to them over time if left inflated or deflated
  • how much air you should pump in them when storing
  • precautions you can take to minimize the damage that can happen to them

There’s also the seasonality factor in storing your bike as well, most people store their bikes in winter and they take care of everything perfectly most of the time but tires are the most exposed parts in a mountain bike, and before storing them good old air can take care of them more than our genius ideas.

I won’t go into storing your tire as a whole because that’s too big of a topic to write on but I will try to add more content like this later on so you can have a better understanding of all the things.

Should you leave your tires inflated when storing them :

yes, you should leave your tires inflated when storing them they will lose air over time but you should definitely leave them inflated because when they get deflated all the bike weight and the weight of the rims falls on to them for shorter periods of time than could be okay but as the time passes the damage starts showing which would have been happening a long time ago you just never noticed it.

But that’s not the scary part it’s when you thought that your tires were fine but suddenly they start showing some damage and it starts spreading like a disease and it eats out your tires. well, let’s take a look at how things got to this point in the first place.

Here’s a time-lapse of what happens when you store your bike inflated :

just to throw it out for the people who might not know this already.

Tubeless tires lose air over time when they are stored and if they are not punctured they keep that air for some period of time before deflating completely and it’s completely normal. if you had like to know more about that I recently published an article on that Here’s Why tubeless tires lose air over time and How to fix it

How tubeless tires lose air over time when stored

Time durationPressure psi   
1st week6-8 psi
2nd week8-10 psi
3rd week10-15 psi
After a month4-5 psi will remain for 3 months

you might say that ‘hey the values don’t add up’ well you are right the values don’t add up because of the different ways you will be storing your tires and also things like tires quality and other factors add up into that as well this is just to give you an overview of what will happen in a natural way.

But if you see any unnatural way this is happening like tires losing air faster and faster than there could be a flat or other problems that i discussed in my other article you can see the link above to that article

but the real question here is what will happen if you left the deflated.

Effects of leaving tubeless tires deflated when storing your bike :

First to be clear leaving your tubeless tires deflated is bad even if you leave them for a short period of time(that you might think are short) like a month or 2 it will have serious effects on it.

But there are 2 scenarios where you leave them deflated while they are detached from the frame or you leave them deflated on the frame.

If you leave them deflated on the frames the effects would be much much worse they may look fine but the effects will be much worse and once these effects start appearing by that time that tire usually becomes useless.

it will lose air much faster it will, it will be more prone to flats and in the worse case, the side walls will just degrade and that tire will become useless.

and if you left them hanging with a wall but in the deflated state, they will start limping by that I mean they will start stretching and become useless if left for longer periods of time.

There’s also the seasonality factor.

Leaving your tubeless tires deflated in summer the consequences :

now that you know what kind of effects could happen when you leave them deflated seasonality also plays a role in it and depending on seasonality you may see different effects over time.

well rather than explaining here’s a picture as they say a picture explains a thousand words.

image of a damaged deflated tire
Now this is what happens when you leave your tires deflated for a long period of time

Sorry about the low quality of the image I took a shot with my phone just to make things easier for you to understand.

So I conducted this experiment where I left one tire inflated and the other deflated on my own bike course it wasn’t a mountain bike as you can see in the picture it’s my commuting hybrid bike.

these lines will form over time when you leave them for a long period of time and all the other effects that I talked about above.

So what is happening here is the result of heat shrinking the rubber and the weight on the tire is causing it to expand under pressure or weight the result is as you can see.

By now I think you have a better understanding of what can happen if you leave them deflated.

What happens when you leave your tire inflated in summer :

Here’s what I talked about above let me show you what happened to the other tire that I left inflated.

image of a tire left in inflated condition

Now, this is the same bike and the same tire of that same bike you can see that I left it inflated and it has some kind of degradation to it but it’s in a lot better condition than my other deflated tire was.

now you must be thinking okay it’s what happened in summer and what will happen in winter.

What happens to tires when left inflated or deflated in winter :

in winter tire rubber will start to degrade more especially at very low temperatures.
Instead of tires shrinking in winter, it expands rapidly, meaning your tires when you leave them deflated will expand as well and if you left them on your frames that added weight will work in its degrading and the process will be much faster than how it is in summer.

but again in an inflated state, it will actually resist expanding more but of course, if you leave it for a longer period of time the air inside will work against you.

Here are precautions you can take to save your tire from Expiring Faster :

Enough about the explanations here are the steps you can take when storing your bike to ensure minimum damage.

precautions for storing in summer :

  • keep your tires inflated to maximum psi(over time)
  • keep them in shady dry and lower temperature places
  • roll them over time(once every week if possible)
  • check if they are not losing air faster than they should
  • best practice would be not to leave them on your frame

Precautions for storing in winter :

  • keep your tires in dry places with an optimal temperature
  • keep them inflated but not to the maximum limit a little lower
  • keep them wrapped with paper to save them from moisture which could eventually corrode them.
  • keep checking the pressure over time.

Conclusion :

If you can just take 10 minutes of your time you can save yourself a lot of money and regret while the degrading of the rubber or the tires are not completely in our hands we can still take precautions to make sure it happens a lot less and believe it or not you can do that.

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